Cybersecurity hour – Mikko Hyppönen: R.I.P. Internet | Silver Stage #slush14

Mikko Hypponen warns that terrorists have recruited computer  scientists with sufficient knowledge to damage the internet itself  at the Slush 2014 convention.

 

 

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Hillary Clinton; HARD CHOICES: Book Analysis. Chapter 10. Europe: TIES THAT BIND.

November 18, 2014 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Europe: TIES THAT BIND, Hard Choices, Hillary Clinton 
EUROPEAN UNION

EUROPEAN UNION

This chapter tells about NATO our long standing alliance with western European nations and Canada. She credits it with containing the Soviet Union and when the wall fell NATO was able to expand to include many of the nations of Eastern Europe as well in the alliance.

At present there are 29 member nations in North America and Europe. After 9/11 NATO joined us in the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq. The treaty states that an attack on one member nation is an attack on all members. This alliance has stood fast from the Cold War to the present day. It is one of the most successful alliances in history.

Our Relationship with Great Britain and France has been long and preceeded the NATO Alliance, they are well aware that more than sixty thousand American Soldiers lie buried in France alone whose lives were lost defending western European liberty and freedom.

The Germans are indebted to us for the Marshall Plan wherein we rebuilt Germany and other countries after the devastation of World War II. Germany eventually became the economic power house it is today.

The European Union is an Economic Alliance that includes 28 member states and more than 500 million people with a common currency and a trade policy of a single market governed by a central governing council based in Brussels Belgium. It was formed over a number of years and treaties and in 2002 a single currency, the Euro, was adopted. Today the European Union has a 16.5 trillion dollar economy.

The Union has held together despite economic stresses and strains. Germany has a favorable balance of trade and a strong  saving propensity so it is the dominant economic power over other countries like Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy who are weaker economically and have to borrow to support their populations. Whether this will cause a modification in the principles of the Union or possibly a break up has yet to be seen. A principle problem is the single currency. Thus economically weaker countries are not in a position to devalue their currency to encourage exports and tourism to solve their problems when they are in financial trouble.

It is interesting that Hillary uses the term “Ties That Bind” rather than ties that unite because we are the principle actor when military problems arise such in the Balkans or Iraq and Afghanistan and many countries feel they do not have to participate or contribute very little. From 1950 to 2000 over ten million Americans were stationed in Germany alone. However France did take a leading role in the Libyan conflict.

There is an uneasy peace between Kosovo and Serbia, but there are still many areas of disagreement over such matters as borders, customs and  freedom of movement. Serbia has yet to consent to Kosovo as an independent nation as it was a part of Serbia until 1999.

Neither state is a part of the European Union or a member of NATO.

The “troubles” in Northern Ireland mostly disappeared and the parties are moving towards greater cooperation. Part of this is due to the diplomatic efforts of President William Clinton and his representative George Mitchell, Special Envoy for Northern Ireland.   

Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952 and is led by Prime Minister Recep Erdogan and his Islamist Party. Turkey is an economic powerhouse which bridges Europe and Asia. It is a laboratory to see whether democracy and secular values can exist alongside an Islamic state.

After WWI Mustafa Kemal Ataturk established the modern Turkey state as a secular one. Since then the Turkish military has been the guarantor of Ataturk’s vision of a secular Turkey.

Recently Turkey’s endeavors to become part of the European Union were voted down by the EU. The Erdogan government has been charged with human rights violations of critical journalists and political opponents. However the the leaders of the Greek Orthodox Church viewed Erdogan favorably even though the government has yet to return seized church property. Erdogan’s critics see him as creating a theocracy incrementally.

Turkey has long standing animosities with its neighbors Greece and Armenia and internally it has suppressed the Kurdish population.

Turkey is also a leading nation in the Mid-East and it will always play a major role there.

The question remains whether it becomes an Islamist state or a secular state with Islamic leaders.

Hillary has given a general overview of recent relations with Europe and the current status of our relationship which is strong. However critics of the Obama foreign policy argue that his pivot to Asia was at the expense of Europe. European relations were badly damaged by the Bush Administration which often did not consult with European leaders on political moves and viewed cooperative alliances on problems as unnecessary. Rumsfeld called Europe “old Europe” as if their thinking on World affairs was out of date and not needed by the United States. The Obama Administration has made a strong effort to correct this situation by including European leaders in major decisions on foreign policy.   

Europe as a whole has never fully recovered from the recent recession which has put great stress on the European Union and the Euro as a single currency. Whether it survives is a matter of conjecture.

The pivot to Asia was widely misinterpreted as a pivot away from Europe when it was really meant to be a pivot away from the Mid-East. However as current events in 2014 have shown this is not so easily accomplished. The word pivot is too flippant a term as if we were playing basketball on the World court when we are not.

Also Hillary and the Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, are of the opinion that the United States should take action in situations where humanitarian values demand it not just when our own self interest is at stake.

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Hillary Clinton; HARD CHOICES: Book Analysis. Chapter 9. PAKISTAN: NATIONAL HONOR. (Will there be another ISIS in Afghanistan And Pakistan?)

November 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Uncategorized 

TRUCKS CARRING MILITARY SUPPLIES WAIT AT BORDER CROSSING  AFTER PAKISTAN  CLOSED THE CROSSING FOR THE ACCIDENTAL KILLING OF 24 PAKISTANI SOLDIERS

 

Trucks waiting to cross into Afghanistan with military supplies after Pakistan closed the crossingPakistan truck hold up  3

This chapter tells the story of Osama bin Laden’s(ObL) death and the   U. S. relationship with Pakistan. It also tells of recent politics in Pakistan after the military dictatorship of Pervez  Musharraf.

The decision to go into Pakistan to capture or kill ObL was a difficult one and Hilary as Secretary of State participated in the decision along with selected Cabinet Ministers, the White House staff, the military, the intelligence community and the President. Ultimately after listening to the pros and cons President Obama made the decision to send the Navy Seals in to apprehend bin Laden.

Hillary was for sending in the Seals even though the evidence showed a probability that a high value At Quada official was living there probably bin Laden, but It could just as well have been  Ayman al-Zawahiri or some other commander. Also we were not going to notify the Pakistani government beforehand because of perceived security problems among the various factions there.

And there was the fact that our servicemen would be deep inside Pakistan far from any support if the Pakistani’s decided to treat them as hostile intruders.

Then there was the memory of the failed attempt to rescue the hostages in Iran under the Carter Administration where eight American soldiers were killed when two helicopters collided.

President Obama listened to all the arguments for and against and decided to go with the Seals rather than a drone strike or a missile attack.

Pakistan was a country that we were giving ten times more aid to than all other countries combined. This was probably because we needed their ports to deliver the supplies and material for our operations in Afghanistan.

Hillary was of the opinion that our relationship with Pakistan was on a transactional basis and not  based on shared political, moral or ethical beliefs with some exceptions.

The Pakistani’s were concerned that their sovereignty was being compromised by the U.S. conducting drone strikes and other cross border raids but they participated as well in the active rooting out of Al Quada and other terrorists along the North West Frontier where they had lost many soldiers.

Another complicating factor was that they saw India as their major enemy not Al Quada or the Taliban.

After Musharraf left office Pakistan was able to elect a democratic  government. President Zardari was elected when his wife Benazir Bhutto, a presidential candidate, was assassinated at a campaign rally in Rawalpindi. Thus the state of politics in Pakistan was volatile.

While the killing of bin Laden deep into Pakistan proper without their prior knowledge or consent caused a public uproar it was not as bad as when our military accidently killed 24 Pakistani soldiers near the border with Afghanistan. This caused a serious rupture in our relations and the supply lines from Pakistani ports   into Afghanistan were cut creating logistical problems for our us and our allies. The closing of the supply lines was costing $100 million a month. This was also a loss of revenue to the Pakistanis who operated the terminals, truck lines and their employees.

However both Pakistan and the free world have a joint interest in fighting terrorism and Hillary was able to persuade  President Zardari it was in our mutual self interest to open the supply lines to our operations to defeat the Taliban, Al Quada and other terrorists.

Beyond our partnership with Pakistan to defeat terrorism in their part of the World Hillary inaugurated the Global Counterterrorism Forum which Turkey co chaired and which other  Muslim countries joined to fight terrorism all over the World. Progams were set up to train police, educators, religious leaders and others to combat terrorism.

Terrorists need a constant flow of new recruits and they are to be found in areas of poverty, ignorance  and lawlessness. Hillary believes that the U.S. must be engaged in changing conditions in these places where ever they exist in order to counter the root causes of terrorism.

(Pakistan wants a weak Afghanistan that they can dominate through their intelligence service. An Afghanistan dominated by the Taliban which they still don’t rule out could be a problem for them if they are perceived as allies of the United States the Taliban’s arch enemy. That is why Pakistan is so conflicted because they are wondering who will run the country after the NATO forces leave.

A hostile Afghanistan would leave them sandwiched between India and whoever is running the Afghanistan. At this point it looks like the Taliban will be running the country except for the major cities. Also Pakistan has a Taliban faction in their own country as well as the remnants of Al Quada. There could be another ISIS in this area.)  

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